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Migration of non-free packages to testing


I am a user of many non-free Debian packages and a maintainer of
one, tth.  In an ideal world all non-free software would have free
equivalents and there would be no need for non-free.  Debian subjects
non-free packages to two restrictions:

a) Debian does not autobuild non-free packages; 

b) Package migration from unstable to testing distribution requires
   that a package be up-to-date with its source on all architectures
   previously built.

These restrictions have trapped many non-free package upgrades in
unstable. For example, testing currently contains tth_2.92-1 of 7th
April 2001 and unstable contains tth_3.13-1 of 8th October 2002.
Debian has just ignored 11 manual uploads by me and about 20 by

For migration to testing, restrictions (a) and (b) require uploads to
non-free coordinated with manual porting to all previous
architectures. Debian developer documentation ignores this so
maintainers overlook it.  Restrictions (a) and (b) are denying most
Debian users access to some of the latest non-free software. They make
non-free software harder to use.

A reason given for (a) is that a few non-free packages have licenses
which restrict autobuilding. 

Can anyone name a package with such a license?    

Since such a license restricts maintainability should the Debian
Project distribute the package at all?

Should a special tree, e.g. nobuild, for such packages be established?

Should restriction (b) be relaxed for non-free?

Does anyone know if this problem is being fixed and when?

Ian Maclaine-cross (iml@debian.org)

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